Mesothelioma Costs and Health Insurance
Mesothelioma costs need to be considered, unfortunately, almost as soon as you get your diagnosis. Treatments can be expensive and your mesothelioma costs can add up quickly. You can get help paying for mesothelioma treatment from your health insurance provider, Medicare, Medicaid, and possibly from financial assistance programs if needed. Once you and your physician have decided on a treatment plan, you will should gather information and map out a financial plan. Being prepared for your financial share of the cost of your treatment is important. Your lawyer can help by explaining when settlement funds may be expected.
Mesothelioma Cost Factors
Your mesothelioma costs won’t be exactly the same as another patient’s because your treatment plan will be tailored just to you. It’s good to get an estimate of the cost in advance of treatment, but keep in mind that things can change as your illness progresses. Blood tests, imaging, respiratory therapy, and additional medications may drive up costs. Many factors will influence the cost of your mesothelioma treatment – here are the major ones:
- Type of Treatments: Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy, Biological Therapy
- Duration of Treatment: Total Amount of Time Needed To Complete Treatment
- Frequency of Treatments: How Often Treatments Are Scheduled
- Treatment Setting: Home, Clinic, Hospital
How Health Insurance Can Help
Your health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or private, should pay for most of your mesothelioma costs. Call your insurance provider and tell them your diagnosis and treatment plan, then ask about details of your coverage, deductibles, premiums, and co-payments. Speak to the financial director at your oncology clinic and make sure they accept your type of insurance. If it’s going to be a stretch to pay all the bills, ask about payment plans and financial assistance.
Ask about coverage for second opinions from health professionals outside the plan. If the answer is “no”, talk to your lawyer about options.
Negotiating Health Care Liens for Mesothelioma Costs
Keep in mind that if you have filed a personal injury lawsuit against those who exposed you to asbestos and caused your mesothelioma – and I hope you have – then your health care provider will expect to be reimbursed for your mesothelioma costs from your settlement.
Contact your attorney and have them negotiate the medical bills for you. That is what we do for our clients. We make sure by going through the medical bills line by line that our clients do not get stuck with bills that have been inflated in anticipation of a settlement or are for unrelated matters. We also remind the medical providers that they are required by law to help pay the legal costs of obtaining a settlement for reimbursement. This often leads to a reduction in medical bills that we always pass along to our client. From a starting point of medical expenses that initially could total over $100,000, our client may wind up paying only $30,000 – $50,000.
How the Affordable Care Act Can Boost Insurance Coverage
The Affordable Care Act may improve insurance coverage of your mesothelioma costs. The law:
- Requires health plans to cover people with a pre-existing condition such as cancer
- Makes cancer screening tests available at little or no cost to patients
- Prohibits insurance plans from canceling coverage if patient gets sick
- Prohibits insurance plans from charging sick people – including those with cancer – more for coverage than healthy people
- Prohibits annual and lifetime dollar limits on the amount of a patient’s care the plan will pay for
- Requires insurers to provide current policyholders and people shopping for coverage with a short and simple summary of their coverage
- Makes sure that patients who take part in clinical trials are covered for their other health needs
- Helps individuals with low or moderate incomes buy health insurance
How to Get Additional Financial Help
Even if you have health insurance, you may still need some financial help with treatment and prescription co-pays. Knowing whom to ask for that help is one way to get started. Speak with the financial director at your oncology clinic about payment programs, financial aid, and local organizations that may help with mesothelioma treatment costs. Your doctor is a good resource to check with about clinical trials, which may be available at no cost to you. At the hospital, check with their social worker to learn what financial assistance resources they may offer.
Bottom Line on Mesothelioma Costs
There’s no doubt that mesothelioma is a costly disease to treat. But even if cost appears to be a barrier to treatment, seek help – don’t skip the treatment. The longer you go without treatment after a mesothelioma diagnosis, the more expensive it will be to treat. To make a little easier on your health, your family, and your budget – prepare to meet the costs of mesothelioma treatment by knowing your treatment plan, understanding your health insurance, and seeking help with the cost of care. Your life is priceless so take these steps now.